Prambanan and Borobudur are two biggest temples in Indonesia. Those also are the most popular ones. Every year, there are about thousands of tourist coming to these two temples. Each of the temples has its own uniqueness and brief history. That is why the UNESCO decided to consider those temples as World Heritage. It means, the existence of the building is protected by international law.
As an Indonesian citizen who lives in Java, I have been coming to those temples for many times. First was when I was five years old. I came along with my whole family as family vacation. I came here again with my family six years later, for another family vacation. And when I was in high school, I came again with my school friends.
And the last time was when I was at college. I don’t really remember the details about the trip during my childhood. So, I guess I will tell you the story about my last trip to those beautiful temples.
I went to Prambanan Temple first. Coming to Prambanan was very easy. The road is good and smooth so driving would not be tricky. You can even use public bus easily because there is a bus stop nearby the temple.
Prambanan is a wide area with various temples. The main complex is the Prambanan Temple Complex itself. The temple consists of three main temples. Each temple represents and is dedicated to one main God in Hindu; Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.
The biggest one in the middle is dedicated to Shiva, the Destroyer God. The south side is dedicated for Brahma, the Creator God. Meanwhile, on the north side, the temple is dedicated to Vishnu, the Keeper God.
Nearby the parking site, before you enter the main area, lined up many stands which sell various souvenirs. I bought a sun hat from there, because I thought I would need one. And it was true. During daylight, the sun could be very hot there. My friends brought umbrella so I thanked God I bought a hat.
I remembered when I was coming to Prambanan during my childhood; I could climb up the stairs and came inside the temple. Inside, I could see and even touch the giant sculpture from each temple.
But then when I came again during college, I could not do the same. This is because the temples were still under restoration. Just so you know, there was a huge earthquake in Yogyakarta which made the temple collapsed in a total mess.
Many historians and architects have been trying so hard to rebuild the temple in correct order. But it was a difficult quest which could take several years.
And then I continued my trip to Borobudur.
It took about almost one hour from Prambanan to Borobudur. Similar to Prambanan, the road to Borobudur was not difficult either. We came here without any difficulties. You could also take a public bus.
Borobudur area was also wide, even if it was not as wide as Prambanan. The temple consist of a lot of mini-temples called stupas. The stupas came in various size. The higher the level, the bigger the stupa is. The medium to big stupa has a Buddha sculpture inside, while the small ones were just lined up at the front.
Myth said that if you could put your hand inside the stupa until you touch Buddha, then your dream will come true. So I tried that out. When I was a child, I always failed my attempt in touching the Buddha. My hand was not long enough to reach out. But then when I was in college, I could touch all the Buddha from every kind of stupas. That was fun!
Visiting Borobudur would not feel complete before you climb up to the very top level. I never finished climbing before, so I decided that I had to reach the top. And I did. From this top level, I looked around and found that the view was magnificent. The first thing I realized was that how far I have climbed to reach this level. I could also see the vast green area around the temple. It was stunning.
After done enjoying the view, we came back down again. Before we went back to the parking area, we stopped by the souvenir stands. I bought some keychain with the shape of Buddha and stupa. We even had a meal on this market. They sold many kinds of traditional Indonesian food.
Heading back to Yogyakarta, we came back again to Prambanan. We did it on purpose because we wanted to see the night performance. You see, in Prambanan, every night, they hold a live theatrical performance outdoor. With the temple as the background, the show told story about the History of Prambanan.
The performance was really great and enjoyable. The performers were professional and they danced very gracefully. They also added some lighting effects and even fire features to make it more amazing to see.
The show was originally held only on full moon. But due to high popularity and demand, they increased it to once a week. And then they increased it more up to three times a week. And now, it’s every night, if the rain does not fall.
If it rained, the performance would be held indoor. To enjoy this magnificent performance, you would not need to spend much money. I bought the ticket for only $8. After done watching the performance, we went back straight home. I was really tired so I fell asleep right away once I reached my bed.
If you are interested in visiting those two temples, here are some tips to remember;
- Bring a sun hat or an umbrella. You would suffer without it.
- Do a great bargain when buying souvenirs. The vendors might rise up the price if you seems like you have no idea about the reasonable price.
- The tips above also apply to food stands. This can be avoided by choosing the stands which write down the price on the menu.
- If you come to Prambanan, you have to watch the show. It was totally worth to see.
- There are many pickpockets. Put your bag on the front and watch it carefully.
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